By Zaheer Mohamed
Annalisa Vincent is undoubtedly one of the finest female football players in Region one. The 20-year old striker hails from the village of Waramuri in Moruca and plays for Silver Sand FC. Vincent is a multitalented athlete- she also plays volleyball and cricket.
But football is her first love and following a string of decent performances in the Heritage games, she landed a place on Guyana’s Lady Jags team. She represented her country in the 2018 CFU tournament and wants to remain a permanent member on the national team. Vincent naturally talented and she knows maintaining her place on the team will be challenging, but she relishes the task. Vincent told Kaieteur Sport that while it is a challenge for any athlete to perform consistently at higher levels, she sees it as an opportunity to keep improving her game.
“I place a lot of emphasis on my training because fitness and proper technique are important, and this can only help me to improve. I want to score goals for my country so I have to put in the hard work,” she added.
Playing for Guyana in an honour and Vincent said her first appearance in national colours was a wonderful learning experience which she is building on. “I learnt a lot in my debut season for Guyana, that is a higher level and I am looking forward to keep improving.”
Vincent still continues to train despite the lockdown due to Covid-19 and is eagerly awaiting the resumption of the season in region one.
Her last appearance in a tournament was in December last where she led her team, Silver Sand FC to victory in the Atkinson Brothers 5-a-side competition. She netted a double in the first half as her team beat Kire Flame 2-0 in the final. She ended the tournament with six goals.
Vincent began playing the game at a tender age of seven. She explained that she started out by training with her uncle’s who are former players, and she made her debut for Silver Sand FC at the age of 10. From the club level she went on to represent region one at the heritage games where she was scouted and hence her national team call up.
Silver Sand is among the best clubs in region one and Vincent, who attended the Wara Muri School in Moruca, indicated that she never had the opportunity to being exposed to coaching prior to her inclusion in the national team. “I would use the drills that are available on the internet in my training, and I would also help the younger players at the club since we have no coach there.”
“There are talented players here and I would like to see more coaching being done which will help us to develop further. The clubs need to implement programmes to assist the younger players. There is need for more tournaments as well which will give us more exposure,” she posited.
Obtaining sponsorship remains a challenge and Vincent said the clubs would usually host fund raising activities, while the players would have to purchase gears with little or no assistance from businesses. She would like to see more assistance for the sport there from the Government.
Vincent is one of the few athletes who represented Guyana at more than one discipline as she would have don national colours at volleyball in 2015. That was her last appearance at volleyball for Guyana since she had to choose between volleyball and football after being called to national duties for both sports simultaneously. “I choose football because I am more attracted to this sport, but I would still like to represent my country at volleyball once available.”
Vincent won the Most Valuable Player prize in volleyball at the Heritage games for the past five consecutive years representing Silver Sand, the current champion. She has expressed gratitude to her mother Marcel Vincent and her father Gregory Vincent as well as other relatives for providing early guidance.
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